The World Health Organization on Wednesday called for vigilance to ensure that monkeypox does not spread among the most vulnerable groups, such as children.
Tackling the virus requires “intense” efforts, the WHO said, calling for widespread collection and sharing of data on the effectiveness of vaccines against the virus.
Experts have detected an upsurge in monkeypox cases since early May outside countries in West and Central Africa where the disease has long been endemic. Most of the new cases have occurred in Western Europe.
“I am concerned about sustained transmission as this would suggest the virus is becoming established and could be moving into high-risk groups including children, the immunocompromised and pregnant women,” the chief of staff told reporters. WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We’re starting to see that, with several children already infected.”
There are two cases aged under 18 in Britain.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan called for “very thorough studies of the vaccine in different population groups…so that we get broadly applicable data, and also to ensure that children, pregnant women and the immunocompromised be considered for inclusion in these trials”. .
As of June 22 this year, 3,413 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death have been reported to WHO, from 50 countries.
Countries with triple-digit case numbers are Britain (793), Germany (521), Spain (520), Portugal (317), France (277), Canada (210) , the Netherlands (167) and the United States (142). ).
The vast majority of cases have so far been observed in men who have sex with men, of young age, mainly in urban settings, in “clustered social and sexual networks”, according to the WHO.
Last week, the United Nations health agency convened an emergency committee of experts to decide whether monkeypox constitutes a so-called public health emergency of international concern (USPPI), the highest alarm that the OMS can ring.
But a majority believed that the situation had not yet crossed this threshold.
Nonetheless, “they recognized the emergency nature of the event and that controlling the spread requires intense response efforts,” Tedros said.
Shared vaccine stocks
The WHO chief called for equitable access to countermeasures such as vaccines and antivirals and the systematic collection of clinical data to inform future recommendations.
WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said countries with vaccine stocks, led by the United States, had shown a willingness to share them.
However, vaccines have largely only been licensed for use against the much more serious monkeypox relative smallpox, which is also caused by an orthopoxvirus and is the only disease successfully eradicated by vaccination.
“It’s really important, because we encourage sharing of these products, that we also collect the necessary clinical efficacy data,” Ryan said. use of available vaccines and antivirals.
Currently, vaccines are in short supply and are largely limited to health workers at higher risk while tracing contacts of cases, Ryan said.
He said some countries were starting to consider offering vaccines to people “engaged in activities at high risk or at particular risk of exposure”.
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© 2022 AFP
Quote: WHO wants data on vaccine efficacy against monkeypox (2022, June 29) Retrieved June 29, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-vaccine-efficacy -monkeypox.html
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